The 11 September 2011 tragedy in New York, the 7 July 2005 bombings in London,the 27 February 2004 Superferry bombings in the Philippines and the 11 March 2004 Madrid bombings all had one chilling factor in common;the deliberate and systematic attacks on civilians voa the trasportation system. Neither sophisticated weaponry nor military tactics were employed, but the finalresult left more than 3,000 dead and many more wounded in New York, more than 50 people dead and 700 wounded in London, more than 110 dead in the Philippines and more than 190 dead and 1700 wounded in Madrid.
The terrrorists have learned that the trasportation system accords them tremendous potential, not only to kill but to disrupt the lives of the ordinary citizen and generate tremendous fera in the process. Hence, targeting or using the transportation system of a country to deliver the message of the terrorist is now a very 'attractive'option.The aviation industry,is particularly vulnerable, as media impact of terroists utilizing an aircraft, big or small would be phenomena.
What do we do?
Thus far,we have reacted but perhaps not responded well. While numerous stop-gap efforts have been undertaken, a comperehsive overview of the vulnerabilities of the trasportation system has yet to take place in most countries, particularly in the field of aviation. Added to that, while terrorists have began to 'creatively' look at developing their tactics, means and methods; security and enforcement forces are often lagging behind, one step too slow in detecting,deterring and disrupting acts of terror. Until we have identified such areas and taken the necessary measures, we are sitting on a ticking time bomb.
While this study is by no means exhaustive, it is intended to spark further research into the field of aviation security, with the hope of safeguarding both our collective and national interests.
The ball is now at our feet and should we not make the first move,rest assured, they will.
THOMAS KORUTH SAMUEL
RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS
SOUTHEST ASIA REGIONAL CENTRE FOR COUNTER-TERRORISM
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS